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Healthy Diet Tips: 12 Eating Habits You Need To Break Now

Healthy Diet Tips: 12 Eating Habits You Need To Break Now

Sometimes, willpower, or a lack thereof, isn’t always the reason for putting on the pounds or overeating. Sometimes it can be little things that make a big difference and the worse thing is? You probably don’t know you’re doing these things as they’ve become habitual to your everyday routine and thought process. The silver lining? I’ll help you uncover some of these eating habits so that you can make necessary adjustments to your lifestyle if required.

1. Do Not Fear The Fat

How many times have you stared obsessively at the back packaging of a product and gasped at its fat content? Uh huh – you’re not alone. It is vital that you understand that not all fats are bad for you. There are lots of healthy fats, which can be found in foods like nuts, natural peanut butter, olives & avocados, which are essential to our everyday diet. There’s even fats that can boost metabolism which as we know burns off those calories! So when you feel peckish grab a couple of Walnuts.

2. The Night Time Nosh

Tiptoeing downstairs to grab a late night cheese sarnie? You should think again. Studies tend to show that when food is consumed late at night — anywhere from after dinner to outside a person’s typical sleep/wake cycle — the body is more likely to store those calories as fat and cause weight gain rather than burn it off as energy. A simple tip? I treat my kitchen like a restaurant and after I’ve had dinner I class the kitchen as ‘closed’ – although odd at first, stick with it – it does work. Oh, and brush your teeth, no one likes eating with a clean mouth.

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3. The Desk Munch

Multitasking and keeping your ‘work head’ on whilst gorging on food at your desk has been a proven reason for what many people class as ‘unexplained weight gain’. In other words, people underestimate what they have eaten by a whopping 30-50% whilst being focussed on work and not on what they’re shovelling into their mouths. So, if you’re a crazy multi-tasking butterfly at work, try to take a breather and a small break for lunch, it could save the waistline.

4. Slow down!

My Grandfather used to say that his parents made him chew between 30-50 times before swallowing and naturally I laughed it off without a second thought – and how wrong I was. Did you know it takes your stomach 20 minutes to realise that it’s actually full? So, inevitably if you are eating faster you will consume more of what is put in front of you. Try chewing between 10-20 times and putting your silverware down between bites.

5. The Diet Food Conundrum

We see it everywhere nowadays, diet drinks, low fat, zero fat, no calories, low calories – it’s a nutritional minefield. Companies use these terms to appeal to the health conscious markets, but just how healthy are these foods and drinks? Here’s an example – take a Crispy Chicken Caesar salad at McDonalds which is advertised as their ‘healthy option’ – yet in its dark depths packs an gut-busting 900-1000 calories per serving which makes it more calorific than a Big Mac!

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6. A Fist Of Meat Is What You Should Eat

Love those T-bone steak dinners? Me too – and don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you can’t have them. However, the quantity of meat is a very important factor that we tend to overlook when indulging. Meats, especially red meats, contain high fat contents and calorific values, so lump on more veg than meat and it’ll pay dividends to your waistline. As a guideline, try to keep the meat around the same size as your fist.

7. The Starvation-Mode Shopper

Studies have shown that going grocery shopping whilst hungry more or less always leads to poor food choices falling into your basked or un-necessary ‘on the fly gorging’ around the grocery store. Whenever you go food shopping make sure you’ve had something to tide you over beforehand – something healthy. You’ll find it much easier to resist the temptation – I promise.

8. Drinking Without Thinking

We’ve all been partial to some over-indulgence in our lives and it’s fine in moderation. However, it’s always good to keep track of calorific intake when it comes to alcohol as there’s normally some really well disguised nasties in there. For example, grabbing that shot of Sambuca with a friend after a hard days work packs a mighty 100 calories – gulp.

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9. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mouth

Research shows that the reason we gorge on junk food consistently is because it’s either easily within reach or it’s clearly visible, and normally if this is the case you’ll find those sugary, high fat treats calling your name in melodic tones. Put these types of foods away – out of sight out of mind. Quick fact for you – those that have sugary treats or high fat snacks in their eye-line are 83% more likely to consume more calories than those that put them away!

10. No Skipping Breakfast People!

I’m very guilty of skipping breakfast and it’s probably for the same reason you do – you’re in too much of a rush! However, it seems we’ve all truly underestimated as to how important breakfast actually is. Overnight, you are essentially fasting whilst asleep which means you’re metabolism has slowed right the way down and in order for that to get kick started again, breakfast is essential. Fun fact for you, people that eat breakfast are 91% more likely to lose weight than those that skip!

11. Water, Water, Water!

You may be watching calories, you may be exercising and you may be making every right food choice under sun, but if you’re lacking water, your results will suffer drastically. Not drinking enough water actually slows down your metabolism so anything that you do ingest whilst low on water will actually break down a lot slower than if you were fully hydrated. Keep your water levels up at all times and you’ll find this will bolster any weight loss efforts.

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12. Listen To Your Gut

We live in a world where we’ve all been essentially brought up to ‘clear our plates’ and ironically, that was to get a sticky treat after dinner. Start listening to your stomach throughout meals and it’ll tell you when it’s had enough – at that very point, place down your knife and fork – anything you eat after this moment on is quite possibly overkill.

I’m looking at YOU! How many of these could you relate to? If you’re guilty of quite a few try not to tackle them all at once as it will become overwhelming and you’ll just slot straight back into your old routine. Defeat each point one at a time and you’ll soon kick the habits that could very well be impeding any health or fitness goals you have this year.

Good Luck!

Featured photo credit: Brigham Young University via news.byu.edu

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Last Updated on October 5, 2020

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

Intermittent fasting weight loss is a type of diet that’s rapidly growing in popularity and becoming the way to lose weight. Scientists and nutrition experts like it, too. New books and articles on the topic are being published daily. Intermittent fasting is also popular with followers of the Paleo diet since our ancestors appear to have eaten this way for thousands of years.

I’ve been following this type of diet myself for 2 years. Doing so helped me lose and keep off 70 pounds without ever having to count calories, limit carbohydrates, or eat 6 to 7 meals a day.

This article teaches you all about intermittent fasting weight loss and details why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. Once you finish, you will be able to implement into your diet and experience the benefits it offers almost immediately.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

As you may have figured from its name, intermittent fasting weight loss is a diet plan where you set fasting periods during the day. This is usually between 16-20 consecutive hours, but it can be as little as 12 hours or as much as 24 hours (or even 36 hours).

While fasting you can eat and drink low calorie or calorie-free foods. Think coffee, tea, water, and vegetables.

The more time you spend fasting every day, the better your results. You can do these fasts as often as you like. Again, the more often you do so, the better[1].

Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.

The longer you fast each day, the better. Don’t worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until it’s time to eat.

It’s best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. I’ll then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 o’clock rolls around, it’s back to fasting.

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My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8PM one evening to 12PM the next day) for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.

You don’t have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.

Tips To Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

1. Drink Plenty of Water

Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your water to help get rid of any cravings you experience. You can also drink coffee, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. After a few weeks, you will find that intermittent fasting keeps you from craving sugar entirely.

2. Take in Caffeine in the Morning and Early Afternoon

The caffeine in coffee and tea may actually make intermittent fasting weight loss a little easier since it’s good for curbing your appetite. Be careful not to overindulge as this may lead to you feeling a little too wired. I also recommend these natural energy boosting tips to keep you going during the day.

3. Avoid Artificially Flavored Drinks

One type of calorie-free drink that should be avoided are diet sodas and other beverages that use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet & Low. Studies show that the can actually stimulate your appetite[2] like a drink that contains sugar and cause you to overeat.

4. Don’t Gorge at Your First Meal

The first meal after your fast should be the amount of food you typically eat. Binging will only make you feel awful and diminish the benefits you get from the fast.

To avoid this, try creating meal plans, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you get into the rhythm of eating regularly portioned meals during your eating window.

5. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars

While intermittent fasting does make it possible to eat a little looser than normal, you should still eat as little bread, pasta, rice, etc. as possible.

Focus instead on eating protein from beef, fish, or pork, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, and sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from foods like almonds, avocados, fish, and olive oil.

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You can find some carb sources that will aid your weight loss journey here.

How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you experience significant weight loss, but specifically lose weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying.

This means that you won’t just be thinner, but you will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way[3].

Intermittent fasting can help optimize the release of the key fat-burning hormones in your body. This is especially true for the two most important hormones: human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.

Human growth hormone plays a key role in turning on your body’s fat-burning furnace so that it gets the calories you need to work and play from stored body fat. Studies show that fasting can significantly increase the production of HGH[4].

The influence intermittent fasting weight loss has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off.

Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.

Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type II diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Intermittent fasting easily solves this problem.

One study found that men who participated in intermittent fasting had “dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity”[5].

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This happens because you’re not giving your body food, so it will not produce insulin, allowing insulin levels to balance out until you eat again. This helps your body stay in a calorie and fa-burning state. You’ll also find that it gives you more energy throughout the day.

Another great weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting is that hunger pangs and cravings that may normally plague you throughout the day will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. This is probably due to its ability to balance your insulin and blood sugar levels and, in turn, help correct other hormonal imbalances.

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss FAQs

Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how to get started, it’s time to answer your other questions.

Below are answers to the questions frequently asked about intermittent fasting. These answers should help you and make getting started a lot easier.

How Much Weight Will I Lose?

The amount of weight you lose with fasting is determined by how often and long your fasts are, what you eat afterward, and other factors. Fasting for 16-20 hours a day can help you safely lose 2-3 pounds of fat every week.

While losing this much weight every week is great, it’s how it makes it happen that’s really cool. Losing weight with intermittent fasting means that you will never have to count calories or plan and prepare several meals a day.

Can I Work out While Fasting?

Yes, you can. In fact, doing the right type of workout while fasting will help you lose weight faster and even build muscle.

The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are 3-4 intense strength training workouts weekly. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts.

Focus on doing 3-4 total body exercises per workout with as little rest as possible between sets. Doing this will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. You’ll also build muscle, which will help you look and feel better as the weight comes off.

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Won’t I Lose Muscle When I Fast?

First of all, you aren’t fasting long enough for your body to start breaking down muscle for energy. You have, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of calories from your stored body fat to use before that will begin to happen. Studies actually show that even after fasting for 3 days, no muscle is lost.

Is Fasting Safe?

As long as you are healthy, not pregnant, and aren’t taking medications, fasting is safe. Like all diets, you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting style of dieting.

I also feel that it may not be smart to follow this type of diet when you’re especially stressed. Since this diet can be a little stress-inducing at first, doing so when your ability to be relatively stress-free and rested probably isn’t a good idea.

Are There Any Supplements I Can Take to Make Fasting Easier?

As with any other weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take a few nutritional supplements to ensure that your daily requirements are met. This includes a once or twice daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.

I’ve also found taking 10 grams of branch chain amino acids before and after my workouts really helps, too. They’re great for giving you more energy during your workout and decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.

For supplements to specifically help with digestion, check out this article.

Conclusion

Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly, safely, and pretty much effortlessly.

If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with you lifestyle and give it a go.

More About Intermittent Fasting

Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

Reference

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